Anger is a natural emotion, but it can be very toxic. What happens to your body when you are angry? The answer might surprise you. Even more shocking is what happens to your health when that anger is sustained over long periods of time. While anger is a powerful emotion, hate is even more harmful. Are people who express hateful emotions more likely than others to develop health issues?

When you get angry, it’s not just that you’re upset that there’s a problem, but how you express your anger. If you’re the type of person that yells at others and hurl objects when you’re angry, you’re putting more stress on your body than someone who is able to express their displeasure in a healthier fashion.

When you get angry, your brain’s amygdala overreacts, causing blood to rush to your frontal lobe, which is the area in charge of reasoning, and a surge of chemicals in your body (adrenaline and noradrenaline). These changes impair your judgment when you’re distressed and can lead to doing things that you would not have done if you were calmer.

The stress your body undergoes when you are angry is multiplied if you get upset easily and frequently. If you have prolonged bouts of anger, your body suffers. You’ll see increased overall stress, anxiety, headaches, high blood pressure, and poor circulation. All of these symptoms can increase your chance of having a heart attack or stroke.

Hate is having strong negative emotions toward something and it’s more toxic than just anger alone. Obviously, the main thing most people focus on when talking about hate is the person who is the object of someone’s hate. Usually, we are concerned with their emotions and what to do to help them. Most likely, they’re fearful of discrimination or bodily injury. Their feelings should not be ignored or dismissed.

But, what about the person who is the hater? How does their body respond when they are feeling hateful?

If someone hates a certain group of people, every time they come across someone from that group, their body goes through the internal process of being stressed. This response occurs even if the hater does or says nothing to the object of their hate. So, if the hater frequently encounters people they hate, their body is under constant stress. This stress puts them at increased risk for chronic health conditions. Typically, emotions of hate are derived from not understanding the hated group or perceiving them as different, therefore wrong, from the hater.

There is no question that feeling anger or hate puts you at risk for increased health issues. How do you decrease your risk?

The best way to manage anger and hate is to acknowledge what you’re feeling. Think through and realize why you are feeling angry or hateful. Take a step back for a moment to help yourself calm down. Deal with the issue—this can mean walking away if you don’t think that you can interact in a calm and rational manner. Talk to others about what is on your mind.

A good person to talk to if you feel angry or hateful would be a therapist. They will be able to give you tips for managing your anger/hate. Learning to let go of unhealthy thought patterns that contribute to you becoming angry or expressing hateful emotions is also significant.

While anger is a helpful emotion that allows us to show our displeasure with something or someone, it’s our expression of this emotion that we need to manage. By expressing yourself in a healthy way, you’ll be able to communicate what you’re upset about and probably get a better end result than if you lose your temper.

Hate isn’t beneficial to anyone—neither the hated nor the hater. This is where seeking the help of a therapist will help you to process your thoughts in relation to hate. You can control emotions and have a healthier lifestyle. We can overcome hate and have a better environment (and health) for everyone!